The Brussels Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Doyen Sports Investments and Belgian club FC Seraing seeking the illegality of FIFA’s Third Party Ownership (TPO) and Third Party Influence (TPI) rules. FIFA’s TPO and TPI rules are set out in article 18bis and 18ter of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP).
In the decision, which was handed down on 12 December 2019, the Court of Appeal acknowledges the full effect of res judicata -a final judgment no longer subject to appeal- of the Court of Arbitration for Sports award on the same matter rendered on 9 March 2017 and of the judgement of the Swiss Federal Tribunal rendered on 20 February 2018, and confirms the validity of the disciplinary decisions rendered by the FIFA disciplinary committees which sanctioned FC Seraing for having violated the TPO and TPI rules. On top of that, the Brussels Court of Appeal confirms that the appellants did not bring to the Court convincing arguments to doubt about the legitimate objectives of the FIFA rules.
FIFA’s Chief Legal Officer, Emilio García, commented on this new ruling as follows: “Once again, an independent court declares that there is no reason to doubt about the validity of FIFA’s rules on TPO and TPI under the applicable law. These FIFA rules are indispensable for preserving the independence of clubs and players and for ensuring the integrity of matches and competitions”.
The ruling passed by the Brussels Court of Appeal also decided to impose the costs of the proceedings on Doyen Sports and FC Seraing.